23rd September 2019

Crusoe shows its true character

At its launch back in 2012, Crusoe set the standard for a new kind of milling wheat that offered very high yields, exceptional quality and agronomic characteristics.

Seven years later and Crusoe has had one of its best performing seasons sitting at the top of the AHDB Recommended List 2019 harvest results *for fully recommended Group 1’s with a yield of 11.49t/ha at 99% over control, 3% over Skyfall at 11.11t/ha and 1% over KWS Zyatt on 11.31 t/ha.

“This really shows how robust Crusoe is in a high disease pressure, challenging year,“ says Ron Granger, arable technical manager with Limagrain UK.

Crusoe’s protein results compliment those of its yields; 13% protein sees it at the top of the Group 1’s, once again above that of fellow group 1’s, Skyfall (12.6%) and KWS Zyatt (12.7%)

“With no issues around any of its physical qualities, Crusoe has become universally accepted by its growers and the millers as being a solid Group 1 which also meets export specifications, and this year’s harvest results confirm its position as one of the most consistently performing Group 1 varieties.

Crusoe winter wheat from Limagrain

Crusoe has stood out over a wide range different seasons and challenges because of its robust and consistent disease resistance, good standing ability and agronomics. “Septoria and yellow rust are by far the biggest threats in any season and Crusoe continues to show good resistance to both,” he says.

He acknowledges its inherent weakness to brown rust (Crusoe’s RL rating dropped from 6 to 4 on the 2015/16 list), but says this is relatively easy to control providing growers are observant and act early if pressure is high.

“Medium maturity helps with an orderly harvest especially for larger growers, and this has helped with this year’s stop-start harvest. Crusoe’s bright green colouration is retained longer than most other varieties mainly due to excellent resistance to mildew, yellow rust and Septoria tritici.”

“Feedback from the field has sometimes alluded to the fact that the variety can be difficult to thrash out due to its tight glumes, but when the weather causes serious delays, such as this year, this characteristic ensures both yield and quality do not deteriorate, when other varieties have suffered.”

Success on farm
Crusoe was one of the top yielding milling wheats on Nocton Farm, part of Beeswax Dyson Farming, where it yielded 11.46t/ha, with a protein content of 14.16% .

Agronomist Ben Abell was very pleased with the results in what has been an unpredictable season.

“We have grown Crusoe since 2012 and put about 600ha of Crusoe into the ground every year, 100ha of this is grown for seed, the rest for milling which we sell onto various merchants.”

“This particular 55 hectare field was drilled on 6th November at a seed rate of 400seeds/m2, and established well. We always drill Crusoe behind vining peas as the residual nitrogen helps the Crusoe achieve protein specification. That said, the crop received 195kgs N in total, which also included 40kgs of Nufol as a late protein spray.”

Inputs are always tailored to the season, he adds. “This year we had a dry spring so fungicide inputs were lower than normal. We do keep an eye on brown rust as this is a weakness of the variety, and tailor our programme accordingly, so it’s not an issue.”

“The crop was harvested on 2nd September, and this has been its best performance in the seven years we have grown it. However, year on year Crusoe is always a consistently good yielder.”


*(Provisional results 11/09/19)

Key facts to help you get the best out of Crusoe


Crusoe’s key attributes of short stiff straw with good disease resistance for yellow rust and septoria and its inherent high protein content continue to make it a strong Group 1 milling wheat choice.

For those planning to drill Crusoe this coming season there are some key facts that will help to get the best out of the variety:

  • Crusoe suits heavy or medium soils
  • Crusoe’s optimum sowing window is from the last week of September through to end of November – Crusoe has a medium tillering capacity and trials work does suggest that seed rates should be increased significantly when drilling end of October onwards (Target 400 seeds/m2)
  • Crusoe is rated medium for plant development in the spring
  • Crusoe performs well as a second wheat
  • Be vigilant regarding brown rust in the growing crop and treat accordingly if conditions persist.


Crusoe winter wheat Ben Abell_harvest

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